You don’t need to be an expert on the psyche of teenage girls to understand that their proms are important to them. Between the tediousness of classes and the nearly impossible task of maintaining your sanity while dealing with gossipy, irritating classmates, getting to dress up for a night and chilling with your friends in a big hotel is about all there is to look forward to in high school.
Messing with a teenage girl in the lead-up to, during or directly after prom night is plain cruel. And a good way to lose a limb.
Triton Regional High School in Byfield, Mass. didn’t get that memo, though.
This past Tuesday night, with her boyfriend in tow, 18-year-old Kaley Hughes arrived at her prom site ready to have a really great night. Lord knows she needed something to get her mind off the harsh realities of life. In the hours leading up to her prom, Hughes had been with her family, mourning the loss of her father’s oldest brother.
So there's Hughes, all dressed up and with her boyfriend beside her, next in line to gain entry to the prom. Time to have some fun, right? Not exactly. She was turned away at the door.
"It hit me like a ton of bricks. I thought they were kidding at first," she later told WCVB.
They weren't kidding. As it turns out, Triton Regional High School has a very strict policy in regards to missing classes. If you’re absent on a given day, you’re not permitted to take part in after-school activities later on. No exceptions, apparently.
"We ended up coming out with all of the people who were coming out of the grand march, laughing and taking pictures, and I was just sitting there on a ledge watching them and crying," she said.
While it’s admittedly horrible that a Hughes had to miss her prom because of a school sticking by its rules, on its face, this seems like a somewhat understandable case. After all, how could the faculty members at the door really know that she missed school to mourn her uncle’s passing? As sad as it may be, kids have used far more heart-wrenching excuses to get what they want from administrators.
Surely if they knew that what Hughes had told them was legit, they would have been more understanding about it. Right?
Not exactly. Here is what Triton Regional Schools Superintendent Christopher Farmer had to say on the matter after it was revealed that Hughes missed her classes because of a death in the family:
“The family did not do what they would normally be expected to do....contact the school early in the day.”
Look, while you certainly can’t fault a school for staying true to its rules, the ridiculous amount of inflexibility displayed here is somewhat shocking. Following guidelines is great, but not when it comes at the expense of using common sense.
If a girl’s own parents verify that she missed school because of a death in the family, how is that still not enough to satisfy the powers that be? Let’s put aside the fact that Hughes had to miss her prom for a second; Superintendent Farmer’s reaction to the whole debacle is arguably worse than the original crime. Instead of at least faking remorse for what transpired, he seems to be stubbornly sticking by an undeniably stupid position for absolutely no reason.
Talk about compounding a mistake.
The moral of this story? Never underestimate the lengths that people will go to in order to avoid admitting they were wrong.